NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE DOUBLE TRACK SYSTEM
The launch and subsequent implementation of the Free Senior High School Policy in the 2017/2018 academic year witnessed an astronomical increase in the enrollment figures in all public senior high schools in Ghana. This has resulted in the undue pressure on the limited facilities available in the various campuses in our schools. Every concerned parent, teacher, student and all stakeholders in education were wondering how to solve the problem immediately. This worrisome situation therefore calls for an immediate practical measure to contain it. It is in this vein that we must commend government and leaders for being innovative and proactive in finding solution to addressing a serious national issue like the increase in students population by introducing the double track system. The double track system is a good intervention aimed at giving great relief to parents, students and the entire FREE SHS POLICY. The proponents for the provision of the required infrastructure before rolling out the FREE SHS POLICY are unfair because there is no one way to solving an issue. As a matter of facts a great number of schools in Ghana today started on challenging and humble states. Students of those schools learnt under trees, sheds, private rooms and even in borrowed premises. The First President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah did not build all the schools across northern Ghana before implementing the northern scholarship scheme through which most northerners have been educated and are contributing meaningfully to national development. The double track system is meant to assuage the suffering of our children but not to satisfy any individual politician or a group of persons. It is therefore necessary for Ghanaians to eschew partisan politics in discussing the policy.
People who are crying foul about the double track system might have gone through the shift system which was on a daily basis but the double track system is semester arrangement as pertained in tertiary institutions. For the sake of our children, we should stop displaying gross hypocrisy. The critics are not only politicising the policy but rather poisoning the educational atmosphere. This does not augur well for the development of our children. Parents and students should embrace the system and follow directions from the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education and play their roles to ensure the success of the programme. All stakeholders need to come together to support government in rolling out the system. The future of the next generation should be paramount in all discussions relating to the policy. Government should motivate teachers to do their best for the students since their roles are pivotal to the success of the system. Incentives for teachers should not be a lip service. The new teachers to be recruited to handle the second track must be supported and conscientised to enable them give off their best since they will be the foundation tutors for the policy.
The payment of the salaries and allowances of the new teachers should not in any way become a hindrance to the successful implementation of the policy. Government must as a matter of urgency speed-up the construction of facilities in the schools and make efforts to finish all the on-going Community Day School projects initiated by the previous administration to ease the accommodation challenges and other related matters in the schools. It is also essential that the Ministry of Education honours all financial obligations to the Headmasters of the schools to enable them to run the schools without challenges. Governments must as well ensure the passage of a legislation to give the policy legal backing. Let’s all support government to implement the double track system successfully.
BY: DUGRAH S. JAMES, FORMER PRESIDENT OF POTAG AND FRENCH /COMMUNICATION SKILLS LECTURER, WA POLYTECHNIC.